Administering a Successful Alumni Survey: A Case Study of Trinity College

Colleges and universities often survey alumni for feedback on events, website design and overall engagement between alumni and their alma maters. Most recently, Trinity completed a survey to help improve its alumni experience, promoted through an alumni homepage section. The survey—powered by Resonance Research—asked a series of 35 questions to understand how alumni interact with their alma mater, including giving and event participation. Trinity stands out for its creative incentives to attract respondents, including a $500 gift card drawing and a financial aid donation, as well as a quick turnaround in announcing its results.

Trinity College Alumni Homepage Survey Promotion

Between January 18 and February 7, more than 2,500 respondents completed the questionnaire. An anonymous couple donated $100 to financial aid at Trinity for each completed survey, up to $50,000. This incentive alone makes Trinity stand out from its peer institutions as it is the only school in the Alumni Monitor coverage group to offer a donation in exchange for survey completion. Similar to other schools’ alumni surveys, Trinity also entered all participants who completed the entire questionnaire into a $500 gift card drawing.


Sample Survey Questions

Despite a lengthy and dense survey, which took respondents an average completion time of 20-30 minutes, Trinity’s questionnaire received a 14% response rate, a strong result for external surveys. The college also stands out for its ability to report the final results within 24 hours of its completion through an alumni email.

Survey Results Email

Other schools should follow the footsteps of Trinity College and incorporate unique incentives outside of a gift card giveaway for survey participants. Creative incentives like a donation to financial aid help grab supporters’ attention and encourage respondents to complete the entire survey instead of quitting partway through.

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